May 10 2017

The User Experience of the Content Management System

Or, A Love Letter to Our Clients, Teams, AND Customers: A Well-Designed CMS! 

A good content management system helps you provide epic customer experiences. A great CMS goes one step furtherit helps you deliver enjoyable user experiences to the editorial and marketing teams that use it every day.

Understandably, the CMS user experience is often sidelined in favor of the front-end, customer-facing experience. After all, there’s only a select few content creators that will be exposed to the back-end, right?

But at the end of the day, these two aspects can't, and shouldn't be separated. A thoughtfully-designed CMS user interface is paramount to delivering great customer experiences. And, a great experience for content creators will reduce staff costs, training costs, and technology customization costs over time, too. 

Taylor Horak of Authentic will show us how to face the UX of the CMS head on. From tips for the discovery phase to employing content modeling, Taylor will reveal how to craft a simple-to-use, efficient platform that supports infinite website redesigns and scales well.

About Taylor

Taylor is a consultant at Authentic, working as a client advocate throughout the design and implementation process to deliver sustainable content management solutions. A typical week for Taylor includes leading a client discovery workshop, developing end-user training, and designing flexible content models.

Apr 19 2017

The Content Strategist’s Guide to Mobile Apps

Join us this month as we get a sneak peek of Melanie Seibert's talk for Confab Central: The Content Strategist's Guide to Mobile Apps!

80% of us own a smartphone. And when we’re on our phones—which we are, constantly—85% of the time, we’re using apps. But we’re picky: most of us only use 5 apps regularly.

How do you make a great app—one that makes it into your users’ top 5? It starts with content. A web content strategist who successfully made the switch to mobile will show you the ropes: how to make your app findable in stores, how to engage your users with push notifications that don’t annoy, and even how “traditional” web SEO impacts your app (it does!).

This talk's for you if you have questions like:

  • How is app content different from website content?
  • How can I make my app findable, both in stores and on the web?
  • How can I make my app usable?
  • How can content strategy help me keep users engaged with my app?
  • What do I need to know to successfully include apps in my overall content strategy?

About Melanie

Melanie works as Senior Content Strategist at WillowTree in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has taught content strategy at General Assembly, and helped create websites at Razorfish, Rackspace, cPanel, and other interesting companies.

Oct 26 2016

October Workshop: The Business of Plain Language

Are jargon and corporate gobbledygook costing your business time, money, and customers? Yes, yes, and yes. But, this doesn't have to be business as usual. You can, and should, fight back—with clarity and plain language.

At our October workshop, Zuula will share insights about the impact clarity has on business results. They'll explore how organizations are using plain language to achieve that elusive win-win: helping the customer and meeting company goals.

Zuula will also provide writing and content tips for bringing your plain-language messaging to life.

About Zuula

We’re not just communication professionals — we’re clarity fanatics. Whether we’re training financial advisors, branding communications, or editing-away legalese, our goal is to help you use language to create the ultimate sophistication.

We’ve seen the difference that clear communication makes for people, businesses, and society. And we’re on a mission to rid the world of confusion, one client at a time.

Sep 07 2016

Design Disruptors: RVA Screening

RVA Content Strategy is thrilled to partner with RichmondUX, AIGA Richmond, AMA RichmondCreative Mornings RVA, Ladies That UX Richmond, Richmond Product Management Meetup, and UXPA RVA to bring you this powerful new documentary.

Synopsis: In Design Disruptors, enter the world of 15+ industry-toppling companies—valued at more than $1 trillion dollars combined—with one unifying secret advantage: the transformative power of design. The film chronicles the true nature of design and the design-driven business revolutions being shaped around the world through the designers’ eyes. Get a never-before-seen look into the perspectives, processes, and design approaches of leaders at industry-toppling brands and discover how these companies are disrupting billion dollar industries through design.

Nov 16 2016

November Workshop: Video Production with Justin Ihara

Curious about adding video to your content arsenal, or enhancing what you have? This workshop is for you. Justin Ihara, a video content creator at The Martin Agency, will be sharing his expertise and leading us through some exercises to help us use this powerful medium to create rich stories and experiences.

About Justin

Justin is a video producer, director, and editor. He's led on-location video shoots across the country and has extensive experience making video content for marketing campaigns, customer testimonial videos, and product videos, as well as social video. Prior to joining The Martin Agency, Justin was the Marketing Manager, Video Production at Snagajob.

Sep 28 2016

September Workshop: Social Media with Christina Dick

This September, get ready to roll up your sleeves and dig deep into social media strategy and content creation. Facilitating this month's workshop will be Christina Dick of TFB Agency, a Richmond-based marketing consultancy.

About Christina

Christina began her career at The Martin Agency, developing social strategies and building communities for Kraft’s Cool Whip and Stove Top, Walmart, GEICO and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She went on to work on the social media team at Capital One and and then to Big River, where she built a social media and content strategy offering and worked on the sweetFrog, Virginia Farm Bureau and Wicked Taco accounts. She is also an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Oct 12 2016

October Coffee and Chat

Join RVA Content Strategy for our monthly coffee and chat. In October, we're joining forces with Ladies That UX.

About Ladies That UX

Ladies that UX creates a space for women from all levels to engage and talk about their experiences and get support and inspiration from their peers.

In a field dominated by men, Ladies that UX is all about giving women the chance to support each other, push the UX boundaries, and promote female skill and talent.

Sep 14 2016

September Coffee and Chat

Join RVA Content Strategy for our monthly coffee and chat series.

For September, our host is James Shea of C3 Media Lab. He'll be leading a discussion about how to think like a journalist and use journalism best practices to create effective, engaging digital content.

About James

James is an award-winning journalist and web marketing professional. For more than ten years, he worked as a newspaper journalist. James has a knack for turning complex topics into simple, easy-to-understand prose. In 2014, he left the media world and started C3 Media Lab, a web marketing and content writing company where he helps his clients find better ways to communicate--and grow their business.

May 17 2016

The Secret to Designing Understandable, Usable Products

When we build a product or launch a service, we’re united by a common mission: make it easier for someone to do something. But, sometimes, things don’t quite gel with the user.

“I can’t find what I need!”

“What’s that mean?”

“I don’t understand.” 

Typically, usability is pegged as the culprit of these problems. But, usability problems are often understand-ability problems in disguise.

Imagine if information could feel like a personalized conversation, removing the ambiguity that causes users’ confusion and frustration.

You can do that, and content-first design is the way. In this talk, Alicia will share how designing the content first and then creating the structure can help. A content-first approach can help you nail down the natural language, use cases, and contextual relevance before you address structure and design. Ultimately, content-first design can help your team reduce unnecessary delays and rework and create a product people will want (and actually be able) to use.

About Alicia 

Alicia Lane is a UX Content Strategist at Capital One. On a typical day, you’ll find her helping product teams find the human language for a feature they’re building, conducting empathy interviews, running content tests, or mapping a customer’s experience. She does all of this with the goal of designing experiences to feel like personalized conversations. Alicia is also a co-founder of RVA Content Strategy. She loves green smoothies, gardening, and her cats.

Jun 21 2016

Content Marketing Hot Seat: Stump the Expert

Content marketing seems like a straightforward concept, but as they say - the devil is in the details.

While we haven’t got Beelzebub, but we do have an expert ready to shed light on your toughest questions. June’s workshop will be led by Jeffrey L. Cohen, the Director of Content Strategy at Oracle Marketing Cloud (so he knows a few things).

Jeff will be sitting in the hot seat to help solve your problems. Bring your hardest content questions and challenges that you need help with. They can be about strategy, creation, goals, metrics, tools, or whatever obstacle is getting in your way.

But be warned! This is an advanced session, so key takeaways will be very specific to the questions and audience.

About Jeff

As Director of Content Strategy at Oracle Marketing Cloud, Jeff oversees an award-winning corporate blog and the production of award-winning content campaigns with an unwavering focus on driving MQLs. He previously led the content marketing team at He’s also the co-author of The B2B Social Media Book, in addition to the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of leading marketing blog, that, at its peak (#61 in the world), regularly beat MarketingProfs, Eloqua, Marketo, and Forrester blogs in the worldwide marketing blog rankings.

Content is King.